Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Three years older?

Near the entrance to Soyosan Mountain, north of Seoul

Beautiful fall colors!

Visiting the Icheon Ceramics Village- this is the ceramics "mascot"?
Still trying to figure this one out...

Icheon village kilns...the graffiti art also baffles me

Pots pots pots pots pots...I'm in heaven!

Ceramics 2010! Woo! Is that what a ceramics mascot would say?

Pottery in the lake. Um, sweet.

Icheon village in the background

Pottery...everywhere...in the streets...in the walls...I'm HAPPY!

Happy Birthday to me! Love, my friendly neighborhood Korean restaurant owner, Mr. Lee. He prepared this cupcake birthday cake just for me :)

Of course I had to blow out the candles...

Thank you, Mr. Lee! I love your food best.

November: my fifteenth month in Korea, and my 24th birthday.
Followed shortly by my 25th and 26th birthdays...

One of my favorite questions, "Teacher, you are how many old?" actually merits a quite different response these days. After the first of the year, Koreans say that everyone has turned one year older. Add this to their belief that everyone is already one years old at birth, and you get some significant discrepancy of age between our two cultures. It was difficult enough to celebrate my second birthday abroad in Korea...so then simultaneously aging a few more years beyond my assumed age of "24" was just a bit much to handle!

But if nothing else, it's a fun riddle to puzzle people with back home: "Britney Teacher left the USA when she was 22 years old. She lived in Korea for 18 months. But, when she returned home to the USA, she was 26 years old. How can this be?"

Thankfully, I've had some good adventures and good friends to celebrate my (very many) birthdays with here. One such friend is Mr. Lee, owner of a Korean family restaurant near my school. My business there alone over the past year has likely helped him to steadily pay his monthly lease for the restaurant space- in other words, I love his food. He knows all the teachers at my school, both by name and by what we typically order ("Ahh, Brit-a-nee, dolsot bibimbap?" to me). Naturally, I went there for my birthday lunch- and he presented me with a cake made of chocolate cupcakes he had just unwrapped from their packages (think: Korean style Hostess cupcakes). He topped off the tower of cupcakes with candles, and then proceeded to sing "Happy Birthday" and watch me blow out the candles. Excellence...good food, good friends, and good wishes for my next few years of life (which apparently caught up with me pretty quickly, those next few years! ;)

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